If you’ve ever looked in the Wallace House dining room, you’ve seen them: a pair of side chairs, sitting under the picture of Mary Maddox. They aren’t prominently displayed, because they were made after George Washington stayed at the Wallace House, in fact after the Revolutionary War was over – probably about 1790.
But they do have an interesting connection to Washington, nonetheless. The New York Historical Society owns a chair from Federal Hall, New York City, which was the chair George Washington sat in the day he was inaugurated as our first President. Follow this link to see it: NYHS Washington’s inaugural chair Vice President John Adams sat near him, in a similar chair.
If you look closely at the chairs from the Wallace House collection and George Washington’s inaugural chair, you will see that that they are very similar indeed – in fact they clearly come from the same set. The upholstery has been changed, and ours are side chairs, while Washington’s chair was a more authority-laden armchair, but otherwise they are identical.
Join us later this year when Nick Stagliano, a graduate student at Parsons School of Design/Cooper Hewitt Design Museum gives a lecture presentation on George Washington’s inaugural chair! He is sure to mention the surprising coincidence of the Wallace House’s owning chairs from the same set, and may be able to retrace the path they took before they came to sit here, in the Wallace House dining room, under the image of Mary Maddox.
Balladeer Linda Russell will perform at the Old Dutch Parsonage this Saturday, January 20th at 7:30 pm. One of the 18th century period instruments that she will perform with is the hammered dulcimer.
So what is a hammered dulcimer? It’s an instrument with strings stretched over a resonant sound board, often trapezoidal in shape. The musician will often stand before the instrument with a small mallet hammer in each hand, striking the strings to produce sound.
The hammered dulcimer was brought into Europe by the Spanish Moors during the 12th century A.D. from its believed origins in the Middle East and North Africa. Its popularity continued throughout Europe during the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The first known written reference to the instrument in America dates to the early 1700’s.
Hammered dulcimers were often built at home or in small shops, not in factories like pianos. This resulted in more regional variances in the instruments. The popularity of the instrument continued into the first half of 20th century when it virtually disappeared.
To register for Saturday’s concert, call 908-725-1015 or email email@example.com.
For more information on Linda Russell: Linda Russell
Source: Smithsonian article on hammered dulcimers
Fall Concert at the Old Dutch Parsonage: Celebrating the Harvest
Join balladeer Linda Russell as she sings songs of harvest-time. Playing the hammered and mountain dulcimers, penny whistle and guitar, Linda sings and plays ballads, love songs, dance tunes, and working songs written in early America and brought over from the Old World.
Click to hear excerpt of Linda Russell playing “Meeting of the Waters” on hammered dulcimer.
Saturday, September 30, 2017
Old Dutch Parsonage
71 Somerset Street
Somerville, NJ 08876
$10 per-person suggested donation to attend this program.
Advance registration recommended. Call 908-725-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register. Please register early, as seating is limited.
While performing on guitar, mountain and hammered dulcimers, penny whistle and limberjack, Linda’s rich singing voice illuminates our American heritage through patriotic anthems, broadsides, hymns and dance tunes.
Linda Russell is a balladeer who brings America’s past to life through song. She has served for many years as musical historian for the National Park Service at Federal Hall National Memorial and has performed at historic sites throughout New York and New Jersey.
As a lover of museums, I got a chuckle from this floor plan of the “Oxymoron Museum”. Thought it was worth sharing.
via at the oxymoron museum — Wrong Hands
Join us for a fascinating discussion on the connections between the Rev. Hardenbergh (principal founder of Rutgers University) family and great African American abolitionist leader Sojourner Truth, at one time their slave, plus stories of other early slave-holding leaders of Rutgers College.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Old Dutch Parsonage
- John Coakley, Feakes Professor of Church History, Emeritus, at New Brunswick Theological Seminary
- Thomas J Frusciano, Rutgers Library faculty and Vice President of the Rutgers Living History Society
- Helene Van Rossum, Public Services and Outreach Archivist at Rutgers Libraries Special Collections
There is a suggested five dollar donation to attend this program.
Advance registration is advised.
Call 908-725-1015 or email email@example.com to register. Please register early, as seating is limited.
In celebration of George Washington’s birthday, Jim Kurzenberger, Historic Preservation Specialist of the Wallace House and Old Dutch Parsonage, will conduct a Headquarters Theme tour of the Wallace House. Visitors will be presented with an experience that emphasizes the details of General Washington’s stay at Hope Farm, the country seat of John Wallace. The tour will last one hour.
Date: Sunday, February 21, 2016
Time: 2 PM
Linda and Bob Barth, along with Jim Sommerville, have recently published a new photo history book on Somerville. The book, “Somerville Through Time,” features “then and now” images of the town including a number of interior photos of the Wallace House that show its gradual restoration to the authentic historic site we know today. Linda and Bob will be showcasing their work at the Van Horn House as part of the Heritage Trail Sunday Speaker Series, February 7 at 2 pm. The lectures are open to the public and free. Copies may be purchased there or people can order online: People can order online at www.somervillethroughtime.com.